The Sunforce 12 Watt Solar Panel used to be our runaway favorite panel. It still excels in certain applications, but in general we prefer the Goal Zero panels.Where the Sunforce 12 watt still excels is in the weight per watt category. It is by far the lightest and most compact 12 watt panel we tested. And if you combine it with a cigarette splitter, you can charge two devices quickly.
Sunforce 12 Watt Solar Panel Review
Cons: Can't charge multiple devices without adapters, harder to incorporate into bigger system.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The name of this product is very confusing. We ordered the Sunforce 12 Watt panel but all over the panel it said "Motomaster Eliminator," which is apparently the same panel with a different name. There is also a Sunlinq 12 Watt panel that appears identical. The Brunton Solaris 12 also looks identical. Are these all made in the same factory and given different names?
This panel also comes in a 6.5 watt size. We found the 6.5 watt size charged devices slower, was not that much lighter, and generally not nearly as good a deal as the 12 watt.
This is the lightest panel per watt we tested and delivers 12 watts of power.
The Sunforce came with the following accessories: stuff sack, alligator clips, cigarette adapter, and various adapters to charge battery packs and other devices. There is also an adapter to link multiple panels. No other panel at this cost came with so many accessories. However, when we looked at buying this online a year later, it appears they separated these accessories from the panel and put them in the Sunforce 50056 Accessory Kit, which costs an extra $18. So you will have to do you homework and decide A) if your panel comes with these and B) if not, do you even need all these extra accessories? At least you have the option. Few other panels are compatible with so many accessories.
The 12 watt output of this panel is impressive for its weight, but keep in mind that does not deliver enough power to charge larger devices such as an iPad or laptop.While it is possible to link multiple panels and connect an inverter to charge AC devices, this in not nearly as simple, compact or effective as the Goal Zero Sherpa system. It can be done, but you need much more expertise about matching it with the right inverter. Even then, you will need a battery if you want to power your AC device at night or on a bad weather day. While you can make something like the Duracell Powerpack 600 work, it is not nearly as portable or practical as the Sherpa system. By comparison, if you were to buy the Nomad 13 panel (about the same price), you would have the option of plugging into a variety of different Goal Zero and compact inverters and batteries that are simple and effective.
— Chris McNamara